Headline: Caltrans Reopened This Freeway in Less Than One Month
Cover image: Cleveland Wrecking Company General Superintendent Mike Zamora and Rajesh Oberoi, Senior Construction Engineer, Caltrans, discuss demolition for a section of “The Maze,” which collapsed after a tanker truck exploded under the connector ramp. The collapsed section of Interstate 580 appears in the background. Story appears on pages 2-10
2005 Gold Award Winner – Magazine, State Information Officers Council
2006 Gold Award – Internal Magazine, National Transportation Public Affairs Workshop
2007 Awards of Distinction – Communicator Awards
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor
Dale E. Bonner, Secretary, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency
Will Kempton, Director, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
Mark DeSio, Deputy Director, Caltrans External Affairs
Tamie McGowen, Assistant Deputy Director, Caltrans Public Affairs
Dana Michaels, Editor, Caltrans Public Affairs
Images by Caltrans District 4 and Headquarters Photography
For individuals with sensory disabilities, this document is available in Braille, large print, on audio-cassette or computer disk. To obtain a copy in one of these alternative formats, please call or write to:
Caltrans Public Affairs Office
1120 N Street, Mail Stop 49
Sacramento, CA 95814
California Transportation Journal masthead
Volume 3, Issue 2, 2007
In this issue:
2 MacArthur’s amazingly rapid reconstruction…
11 How to do business with Caltrans – a DVD for you…
12 Making Devore a divine drive…
16 Canines help Caltrans protect sacred sites…
18 Bond money keeps Californians moving…
Message from the Caltrans Director
Photo of Will Kempton
Would you like to do business with Caltrans, but don’t know how to go about it? In this edition of the California Transportation Journal, you will find a Caltrans-produced DVD that talks about a terrific process for managing transportation projects in the state’s system and for delivering those projects on time. The process is called partnering — the art of cooperating with others to meet common goals.
This concept of partnering is embraced not only by me, but by the rest of Caltrans management as you will see and hear on the DVD.
We have found that Caltrans can do more by working cooperatively with our partners than it can do alone. A perfect example is the way Caltrans and its local partners worked together following the MacArthur Maze incident. We enjoyed great support from
the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and all of the local transit agencies. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system adjusted its normal routines to make up for the freeway system’s temporary disability. What followed was BART’s biggest week ever: 2.1 million rides from April 30 to May 6. Ridership tapered off but remained much higher than normal until the melted ramp was replaced, 25 days later.
Caltrans also received assistance from the Federal Highway Administration and other federal agencies, as well as private sector companies. Law enforcement and public works staff in the cities of Oakland, Emeryville, San Francisco, and neighboring communities teamed up to give outstanding support.
A new partnership between Caltrans, the Bay Area Toll Authority, and the California Transportation Commission, called the Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee (TBPOC), is another shining example of what can be accomplished by working together. TBPOC has helped tremendously with management of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which, as we all know, is being rebuilt because of damage by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Delays that Caltrans had struggled with prior to the creation of the new partnership team in 2005 are nearly nonexistent now. Why?
The new partnership has more resources than Caltrans did alone to tackle problems that come up.
Let me give you one more example of how partnering strengthens an organization. For several years now, Caltrans has been working with the heavy highway construction industry to ensure that the resources are there to meet the upturn in transportation building. California, after all, has seen a boom in new construction projects with the passage of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $19.9 billion transportation bond in 2006.
Caltrans has been conducting workshops throughout the state and taken action to ensure that builders are “growing” their ability to take on and complete the increased workload.
There have been several positive results from this partnership with the construction industry: The average number of bidders per project advertised has increased from 3.6 bidders per project in fiscal year 2005-06 to 4.9 bidders per project in fiscal year 2006-07; increasing the number of bidders has led to more competitive bids that have generally been more in line with our Engineer Estimates. Also, for two years running, Caltrans has delivered its new transportation projects on time.
In closing, I ask that you share this DVD on how to partner with Caltrans with the folks in your organization. We want to do business with you. We want to have open communications with you. We want to build trust, understanding, and teamwork. We’ve already proved that successful partnerships benefit Caltrans, its partners, and the public.
signature Will Kempton, Director
Headline: Maze Mayhem Becomes Caltrans Miracle
Subhead: Rapid repair resulted from ingenuity, partnership and
old-fashioned hard work
By Bob Haus, Public Information Officer
Photos courtesy of Caltrans District 4 Photography
Background image: close up detail of collapsed section of freeway
The images were horrifying: a gasoline tank truck exploding into a fireball… a freeway connector ramp collapsing into a flaming haze of hot cinders… about 165 feet of upper roadway gone, vanished… twisted, fire-blackened girders on the lower deck.
Bay Area residents waking to these images on April 29 feared the worst. Surely it would take months to repair the ramps. Just as surely, the damage would cause massive traffic jams. After all, these two ramps were integral parts of the interchange known as “The Maze,” one of the most vital and heavily traveled interchanges in the Bay Area. The Interstate 580 connector ramp’s upper deck carried traffic from San Francisco to Oakland, Walnut Creek, and points east. The Interstate 880 connector – the lower ramp – carried vehicles headed from Sacramento to San Jose and further south. Bloggers and talk radio hosts gloomily predicted months of gridlock and misery.
Yet it didn’t happen. In just over one week, the fire-damaged lower deck reopened to traffic. And in less than a month, the upper deck was back in business. The rapid repair was a combination of ingenuity, partnership, and old-fashioned hard work.
Photo caption: Overview map of MacArthur Maze area details the collapsed I-580 connector; Caltrans engineers examine the charred wreckage of the tanker truck; straightening the girders.
How Did They Fix This Mess?
April 29: The connector ramp collapsed… Within minutes of the accident, Caltrans maintenance workers and the California Highway Patrol closed the damaged sections. Temporary detour signs were set in place. Caltrans District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi activated the Emergency Response Center. Caltrans Director Will Kempton, who was on the scene within a few hours, briefed Governor Schwarzenegger by phone. A short time later, the Governor arrived. He issued a proclamation permitting Caltrans to award emergency contracts.
Before any other work could be done, the collapsed section of roadway had to be removed. A demolition contractor would have to be found and hired as soon as possible. Looking over the list of demolition contractors, Caltrans had its first bit of good luck.
Just across the bay in San Francisco, Cleveland Wrecking Company was at work demolishing old sections of the Bay Bridge west approach. Wasting no time, Caltrans awarded a contract to Cleveland Wrecking. Within minutes, Cleveland transferred crews and equipment away from the West Approach over to the Maze. The demolition crews got right to work, even though the heat from the morning’s fire could still be felt.
Caltrans engineers also felt the heat as they inspected the remaining portions of the I-580 connector. They took steel samples from the surviving girders and the attaching hardware. The bent cap – which sits atop the columns that hold the road up, like a support beam – had collapsed with the roadway and would have to be replaced. Columns supporting the bent cap and roadway remained standing, but were blackened by the fire and required thorough inspections.
While engineers in the field performed their inspections, Caltrans colleagues in Sacramento and Oakland offices pulled the original highway drawings out of the files, and set to work designing a replacement ramp for the 580 connector. For the new design, they made one significant change. The original bent cap was made of steel. A more fire-resistant concrete and rebar bent cap that could be manufactured much more quickly was chosen.
At the Oakland office, the Emergency Response Center (ERC) operated with full force. Key personnel had been called earlier in the morning and told to report at once. Other Caltrans staffers simply showed up and asked to be put to work. Experts from the Maintenance and Traffic divisions organized detours. Various emergency expenditure authorizations were issued. Contractor American Civil Constructors was hired to coordinate traffic control and start preliminary work on the 880 connector ramp. Representatives of the City of Oakland and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services soon joined the ERC team.
As news of the freeway collapse spread, reporters from all over the country bombarded the Caltrans Public Information Office in Oakland. The most common question was, “How bad will traffic be tomorrow?” By late afternoon, the Governor provided a partial answer. In order to encourage the use of public transportation, the state would pick up the tab for a “free transit day” on Monday, April 30. All forms of public transportation – buses, ferries, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit rail system – would be free, and transit companies promised to have additional buses
and trains ready.
Work continued through the night and into Monday morning. Caltrans Public Information Officers used the airwaves to warn motorists of certain delays. When the first traffic reports came in early Monday morning, the news was almost unbelievable.
Gridlock Failed to Materialize
Traffic was moving smoothly. There were hardly any backups. Buses, trains, and ferries ran at full capacity. Those who didn’t use public transit altered their normal routes to avoid the Maze. The predicted gridlock failed to materialize. The free transit day and public outreach had been successful.
By late afternoon, Cleveland Wrecking finished removing the collapsed roadway. With the debris cleared away, engineers could start examining the 880 connector ramp. Steel samples were taken from the girders, and core samples were drilled out of the concrete roadway. The steel was sent to the Caltrans Materials Laboratory in Sacramento for analysis. The concrete samples were handed over to the Wiss, Janney, and Elstner consulting firm for evaluation at its Texas lab. Steel and concrete samples were also drawn from the 580 ramp’s supporting columns.
Within a day, the results of the steel tests came back, and the news was good. While the fire had warped and twisted the 880 girders, the structural integrity had not been compromised. The girders could be straightened. While that would be no easy task, it was infinitely preferable to the scenario of tearing down the entire structure. The concrete deck core samples showed quite
a bit of surface damage, but indicated the deck was repairable. On Wednesday, May 2, Governor Schwarzenegger made the official announcement – the 880 connector ramp would be repaired and open to traffic in seven to ten days. American Civil Constructors banded with Caltrans engineers and went to work installing the external bracing, called “falsework.” Once the freeway was properly supported, crews could start correcting the first of many problems – the uneven road surface.
When the fire’s heat warped the girders, the roadway twisted out of shape, resulting in a nine-inch drop-off between sections. Caltrans and the contractor brought in a set of hydraulic jacks and lifted the entire structure nine inches, bringing the roadway back into alignment. Once the deck was realigned, the relatively routine task of deck rehabilitation got underway. Workers ground out the damaged concrete, poured new concrete, and replaced the damaged barriers and electrical components.
Down below, a more unconventional job was underway. The girders would be fixed with a process called heat straightening. Caltrans Project Manager Skip Sowko explained, “It’s a bit like acupuncture. Acetylene welding torches are brought in, and a certain amount of heat is applied for a certain time to a certain spot. Once the steel has been heated to the proper temperature, hydraulic jacks straighten the girders.”
Straightening Out the Maze
The heat straightening was a tricky process. But with the falsework assuming most of the structural load, the ramp could be opened to traffic while workers continued the straightening process.
The ramp was reopened more quickly than anyone expected. On May 2, Governor Schwarzenegger said the work would take seven to ten days. It took even fewer than that. At just after 4 a.m. on May 8, the 880 connector ramp was opened to traffic. Caltrans even added a special feature to the reopened ramp – the deck had a brand-new overlay of durable polyester concrete. Drivers were once again able to travel straight from Sacramento to San Jose without detours, while just below them, workers continued to straighten the girders.
May 8: Contractor C.C. Myers, Inc. awarded repair bid… There was another major announcement on May 8. Caltrans Director Will Kempton awarded the contract to rebuild the 580 connector ramp. The previous week, while the 880 repairs were underway, Caltrans engineers worked around the clock to finish the design of the new 580 interchange. While the 880 project was awarded as an emergency contract, Caltrans put the 580 job up for limited bidding. Caltrans released the design on Friday, May 4. Seven companies submitted bids on the following Monday morning. The next day, Caltrans awarded the contract to C.C. Myers, Inc. of Rancho Cordova.
At first, reporters were astonished by Myers’ bid, just $867,075. Caltrans had estimated the cost of the project to be about $5.2 million. Speculators wondered how Myers could build the new ramp for less than a million dollars when the steel alone would cost at least that much.
Director Kempton provided the explanation. For every day the project finished early, the contractor would earn a $200,000 incentive, with a cap of $5 million. Myers confidently told the press he intended to earn every bonus dollar. His bid of $867,075 was simply the remainder of the cost.
Photo caption: Caltrans computerized message sign alerts motorists to the road closure; Contractor C.C. Myers; Caltrans engineers team up with private contractors to get the job done; a massive crane dominates the scene during repair work to damaged I-580 interchange; Governor Schwarzenegger visits the site
Myers and Kempton signed the contract at about 4 p.m. on May 8. Less than an hour later, Myers’ staff was on site. The first task was to repair the columns. Again, the news was good.
The steel and concrete samples showed some minor damage to the concrete and grout in the top four feet of the columns. Myers’ crew, with its equipment in place, got to work grinding out the top four feet of concrete and steel rebar.
Myers quickly hired two subcontractors. Con-Fab, of Lathrop, California, got the job of building the new bent cap. Stinger Welding, of Coolidge, Arizona, was tapped to build the new girders. Stinger made calls to specialty steel mills in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, and Houston, Texas. Within a few days, the steel was on its way to Arizona. Stinger Welding hired two truck drivers for each rig hauling the steel. Although two drivers per rig cost more, they could drive in shifts, drastically cutting the delivery time.
Caltrans sent engineers and inspectors to Arizona to assist and monitor the fabrication. Stinger Welding President Carl Douglas was surprised and impressed. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Caltrans came in and put good people in the shop. If there were any problems, we could go to them and get immediate answers. It was a breath of fresh air to have a government agency come in and perform like that.”
The head of Con-Fab, Philip French, was also impressed. “I take my hat off to Caltrans,” he told a television reporter. “They have been very proactive, and just great to work with.” As was the case with Stinger Welding, Caltrans engineers had the shop drawings in Con-Fab’s hands within 24 hours of the contract award.
Sunday, May 13, was Mother’s Day, but the Con-Fab employees arrived at the Lathrop yard before sunrise for a full day of work. The steel rebar was securely in place inside the wooden forms. The concrete was ready to pour. Truck after truck poured concrete into the forms, and vibrating machines shook air bubbles out. Then the concrete was covered and left to cure.
Two days later, the 55-foot long, 120-ton bent cap was loaded onto a massive, 30-axle tractor trailer rig. As the truck slowly made its way along the highway from Lathrop to Oakland, the local news media followed closely. There were so many news helicopters in the air, one Caltrans engineer said, “It looked like the O.J. Simpson chase.” After a three-hour trip, the tractor trailer parked on the 880 connector ramp, which had been closed for the evening’s operation. As news helicopters hovered overhead, cranes slowly lifted the bent cap off the truck and gently set it atop the columns. It was a perfect fit.
A short distance away in Vallejo, painters were spraying primer on the first of the brand new girders from Arizona. Although the priming was a necessary step, the workers were initially a bit reluctant to start painting. Someone at the Stinger Welding yard had added a touch of heartfelt graffiti to the first girder: “To the people of Oakland – with love, your friends in Arizona.”
Photo caption: two Caltrans workers test the strength of concrete to be used for repair work on the MacArthur Maze
The next night, Wednesday, May 16, trucks hauled two of the newly painted girders to the Maze. Once again, the crane operators performed their magic, and the girders were smoothly lifted into place. Over the next several nights, the rest of the girders – 12 in all – made the trip from Vallejo to Oakland. The final two were set in place early Sunday morning, May 20. That afternoon, the new deck was ready to pour. Several news reporters were astonished. How could concrete be ready to pour the same day?
The usual practice is to perform one job at a time. C.C. Myers worked out a schedule that allowed several jobs to be done at once. Two crews worked 12-hour shifts. The moment the first girders went in, the diaphragms and wooden forms were added. When the last girders were installed, it took only a short time to add the last of the forms and rebar. A few hours later, trucks were hauling concrete to the site.
Myers and Caltrans chose a special type of concrete called “High Early Strength Concrete.” Water hoses were used to regularly moisten the newly poured concrete, in order to keep it from drying too quickly. By alternating between moistening and drying, the concrete became much stronger.
While the concrete cured, workers finished odd jobs – fixing barrier rails, replacing damaged electrical wiring and hardware, and cleaning up the work site. Everyone – workers, reporters, and the traveling public – knew this was the home stretch. Caltrans announced the road would open sometime before the morning commute on Friday, May 25, before the Memorial Day weekend.
May 24: Ramp opened to smooth traffic flow… At 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 24, eastbound traffic was stopped on the Bay Bridge while the workers uncovered the traffic signs and removed the cones and barriers. Just over an hour later, at 8:40 p.m., the ramp was opened. A television crew in a mobile news van tried to be the first to cross over the repaired ramp, but was beaten at the last moment by a swift motorcycle.
The next morning, the Oakland Tribune headlined the story with the words, “It’s Open!” The San Francisco Chronicle countered with “A-Maze-ing!” Defying all odds and gloomy predictions, the ramp opened less than a month after the accident.
Photo of Caltrans Director Will Kempton holding a copy of the Oakland Tribune with the “It’s Open!” headline; background photo of motorcycle beating the news van across the repaired section.
How did it happen? It was a combination of things. Both Caltrans and its contractors drew on their years of experience and knowledge. All involved sought innovative and creative methods to cut the construction time without compromising quality. And everyone worked hard, many putting in 14- to 18-hour days.
Almost from the first moment, Caltrans and its contractors were determined to turn a horrific accident into the project of a lifetime, something in which everyone could take pride. From all appearances, they succeeded.
Background image: lightened Caltrans logo behind the following text:
Caltrans and the Construction Industry are committed to making partnering the way we
do business. Partnering promotes open and honest communication, trust, understanding and teamwork. Enclosed is a complimentary DVD for you that explains how to do business with Caltrans.
Headline: Promoting Caltrans Projects Through Public Outreach
By Rose Melgoza
Public Information Officer
Graphics: scanned samples of public outreach brochure, postcard, and rack card
When Caltrans completed 10 months of paving work in less than one month’s time in 2004, “Rapid-Rehab” was dubbed a major success. The $15 million Interstate 15 (I-15) Devore Project in Southern California rebuilt a 2.8-mile stretch of badly damaged concrete lanes in only two single-roadbed continuous closures (also called “extended closures”). The project required 210 hours of work, using contra-flow traffic (opposite direction to the main traffic flow) and 24-hour-per-day construction operations. The pre-construction schedule estimated that, using traditional nighttime-only closures, the job would have taken ten months to complete. Instead, the reconstruction took only 19 days, with each extended closure for one roadbed lasting 9.5 days.
The I-15 Devore 2 Pavement Rehabilitation project started in the summer of 2006 on a section of I-15 in San Bernardino County at the junction of Interstate 215 (I-215) in Devore (at Cajon Pass) where nearly 200,000 motorists travel daily. It is the primary route for commuters from the high desert destined for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. It is also used by truckers for interstate shipments of goods and services, as well as travelers to and from Nevada’s Las Vegas resort area.
The purpose of the project was to rehabilitate pavement and add a northbound truck-climbing lane. In an attempt to lessen the duration of the project and build a better quality, longer lasting roadbed at a reduced construction cost, the Rapid-Rehab method was again selected. Rapid-Rehab uses longer work periods, allowing a greater amount of work to be completed in less time. Nearly eight months of night work was consolidated into six separate, 55-hour Rapid-Rehab weekends. Studies indicated that the extended closure of various connector ramps could result in six-hour traffic delays if a 40 percent diversion was not achieved.
A proactive public awareness campaign was launched to inform motorists and offer options to achieve the necessary diversion. The goal was to change motorists’ behavior, gain public support and achieve the minimum 40 percent traffic diversion rate during the Rapid-Rehab work periods. In order to meet the goal, a multifaceted public relations campaign was initiated utilizing traditional and new approaches to information dissemination. Highlights included:
• All printed material and the Web site had a consistent look and logo, so the public would easily recognize updates. The colorful layout had a high-quality contemporary feel.
• The target audience was larger than usual, as the campaign had to reach anyone who might travel on I-15 to the Las Vegas resort area. The outreach focused on the four Southern California counties and Nevada. Caltrans provided materials to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association (LVCVA), Hyundai Pavilion (a local concert venue), California Trucking Association, and Southern California Automobile Club (AAA) to keep them apprised of the schedule. More than 10,000 flyers were distributed and e-mailed to known interested parties.
• A strong presence in the media before, during and after the weekend closures kept the public aware of the changing schedule. Press conferences were held in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Bernardino. Media tours gave reporters close-up views of the traffic conditions facing motorists. Regular briefings and interviews with traffic reporters gave them the inside scoop to include in their radio traffic reports.
• A guide booklet was created to give drivers easy access to project information and detailed maps illustrating the closure areas and detours for the duration of the project. It was designed to fit in a typical glove compartment, and included Frequently Asked Questions, with alternate routes suggested to achieve our traffic diversion goals. With a fluid construction schedule that changed frequently, the brochure was a valuable tool throughout the life of the project. It included the Caltrans district Web site and a toll-free phone number. A total of 30,000 booklets, along with 10,000 postcards and rack cards were distributed in California and Nevada.
Thinking Outside the Box
Caltrans utilized the power of the Internet to reach at least 200,000 visitors through the Devore 2 project Web site during construction. The Web site contained detailed project information, including printable flyers about road closures. Closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras allowed anyone with Internet access to view video of real-time traffic conditions before leaving on a trip.
Two new features were introduced on the Web site. The first feature introduced was a service called CT Connect. It allowed any user to sign up for automated electronic updates, which instantly notified users of all updates to the Web site. The second feature was a video update via YouTube.com that provided a newscast-style video update regarding the upcoming week’s construction. The YouTube.com video was the first of its kind used by the Department, to make it easier for the public to understand the situation, and to put a friendly face on Caltrans. The video proved its value as it generated more than 60,000 views.
Permanent changeable message signs are valuable traffic advisory tools, and Caltrans expanded their use to broadcast connector closure information two days before the Rapid-Rehab weekend work started. They were activated in the Southern California counties of Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino. While this is not commonly done, it proved very effective.
Results of Outreach
During the Rapid-Rehab weekends, traffic diversion averaged at least 40 percent, which resulted in an average delay time of only 45 minutes rather than the anticipated six-hour delays. On two of the six weekends, Caltrans achieved over 50 percent diversion; the remainder averaged 30 percent or more. The Las Vegas resort operators were pleased that there was no noticeable drop in their attendance. Our ability to divert so much traffic demonstrated the public outreach campaign’s effectiveness. The success of the campaign was largely due to the number of Web site visits, validating the theory that an enhanced Web presence with up-to-date, relevant information is vital in today’s society.
District 8 has shown that, by providing timely information and travel alternatives, Caltrans can continue to improve and maintain highways, contractors can work quickly and safely, and the public can adjust to changes with minimal frustration. Numerous e-mails thanking Caltrans for the timely information made all the hard work worthwhile. Devore 2 was a win-win situation.
Photo: computer monitor with Devore 2 logo on it
Graphic: CT connect logo
Headline: Forensic Dogs Help Preserve Native American Burial Ground
By Susan Lent, Public Information Officer
Photos courtesy of District 9
Photos: Caltrans District 9 Archaeologist Tom Mills. Dogs: 4-year-old Australian Shepherd, Maya, with handlers James Davidson and Ann Anderson. 4-year-old Border Collie Rhea; 1-year-old Border Collie Shiloh; and 2-year-old Jack, a Labrador Retriever. Maya, Rhea, and Jack are all state-certified human remains detection specialists, and Shiloh is currently undergoing certification training.
Since Terald Goodwin notified Caltrans that he remembered an historic Native American burial ground near the two proposed southbound lanes of U.S. Highway 395, Archaeologist Tom Mills has been proactively working to locate it. Goodwin, a Native American, thought there were 12 burial sites and remembered his grandmother scattering crushed, blue glass beads over unmarked graves. The last burial occurred around 1926.
Mills considered two ways to identify the areas concerned. The first option, using ground-penetrating radar, did not seem feasible in this case because there was no visual grave evidence. Without any definite indicators, he determined it would take too much time to discover and identify the site’s boundaries using radar.
Prehistoric Archaeology and “Man’s Best Friend”
Using forensic search dogs specifically trained to find a decomposed human tissue scent source was the more promising option, because forensic search dogs have proven to be accurate in the past. They were successful in pinpointing the Donner Party pioneer campsite in Truckee, California; a mid-1600s burial site in Pardubice, Czech Republic; and the unmarked grave of a trail-blazing fur trapper named Lolo on Montana’s Lewis and Clark Trail.
Mills determined that using search dogs for this project would be cost-effective and, most importantly, leave the area undisturbed. Four dogs and their individual handlers from the Institute for Canine Forensics joined with Caltrans staff in May to systematically check the area. Handlers watched as each dog searched the area separately. When a dog “alerted to a scent,” identifying a gravesite area, a small flag was placed at the location. The flags were removed before the next dog searched the same area. All four dogs separately identified the same 13 sites during the eight hours the team worked. The areas identified by the team, where some blue and red glass beads were found, were larger than Caltrans staff had anticipated.
Forensic Search Teams Work Together
The search team – Ann and Rob Anderson (handling Jack, a black Lab), James Davidson (with Australian Shepherd Maya), and Adela Morris and Tom Pomeroy (handling border collies Rhea and Shiloh respectively) – did a fine job. “I was totally amazed with how the dogs are trained and actually do the work,” Mills said. “I think they will eventually become a major tool used in Prehistoric Archaeology.”
“This burial ground will be formally recorded during the next phase of our cultural work on the project, and will be avoided during any construction. The nature of the site and its location will be kept confidential in accordance with state and federal laws.”
Headline: Caltrans to Move Forward on Strategic Plan for Performance-based Management
By David Anderson, Public Information Officer
Pull quote: "What does all this mean to the average citizen?” asked Caltrans Director Will Kempton. “It means that sooner rather than later people won’t be stuck as long in traffic. The goal over the next decade is to cut congestion below today’s levels. Passage of the transportation bond has given us a great start."
Photo: a ship docked at port
Caltrans broke ground in late August on its first Corridor Mobility Improvement Account (CMIA) project from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $19.9 billion transportation bond. The $168 million CMIA project will provide demonstrable congestion relief, enhanced mobility, improved safety, and stronger connectivity to the Interstate 5/805 corridor in the San Diego region.
California’s transportation fortunes have changed dramatically since November 7, 2006, when Californians had a rare chance to reinvest in the state’s long-neglected transportation infrastructure. The voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1B, which provides $19.9 billion for transportation. More than $11 billion will go to congestion relief, highways, and local roads. Some $4 billion will go to public transportation. More than $3 billion will go to moving goods through ports while reducing air pollution, and another $1.5 billion will be used to protect bridges from earthquakes and safeguard harbors, ports and ferry terminals.
“Each of these programs is designed to achieve a specific outcome,” says Ross Chittenden, Caltrans’ Proposition 1B Bond Program Manager. “In the past, we have focused on delivering individual projects. Now, we will increasingly focus on the ongoing operation and management of corridors, which will enable us to implement projects that will yield the best strategic result.”
Governor’s Transportation Bond to Relieve Congestion, Enhance Mobility, and Improve Safety
The public generally had thought transportation projects moved at a glacial pace. In contrast, the implementation of Proposition 1B has flowed like a swift river, and Caltrans has been actively engaged in the process from Day One.
Caltrans submitted a list of 67 project nominations, totaling $6.4 billion, to the California Transportation Commission (CTC) for the CMIA in January. Regional agencies submitted 80 CMIA projects, valued at $5.9 billion. On February 28, the CTC adopted 55 CMIA projects worth $4.5 billion, including the San Diego project.
Caltrans nominated, and the CTC approved, close to a billion dollars ($975 million) in Proposition 1B funding for transportation improvements on Highway 99 in March. “Highway 99 is the Central Valley’s transportation backbone,” said Caltrans Director Will Kempton. “The economic vitality and quality of life in the valley are high priorities for the Governor. Caltrans is going to deliver these projects and turn promises into reality.”
On June 7, Caltrans requested that the CTC adopt programs to commit another $2.9 billion of transportation bond funds to specific projects.
First the CTC adopted the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
$2 billion augmentation. The adoption was the culmination of several months of collaborative effort by CTC, regional, and Caltrans staff to identify candidate projects and commit funds for the STIP period ending in 2010-11. This $2 billion augments the $5.9 billion in programming capacity from the 2006 STIP. The STIP augmentation will provide the missing piece of construction funding that previously was only funded for design and right-of-way projects.
Caltrans also presented a proposal to the CTC for $500 million in State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) augmentation funds included in Proposition 1B. The Proposition 1B funds will be used for rehabilitation projects with at least 20 years service life and for critical Intelligent Transportation System deployment on selected urban corridors.
Finally, Caltrans presented a list of projects to be considered for Proposition 1B’s allotted $400 million for rail cars and infrastructure to enhance and expand intercity rail service.
With these actions, the CTC committed roughly $8.5 billion of Proposition 1B funds in less than eight months from voter approval of the bonds.
How Does This Affect You?
The real impact of Proposition 1B on Caltrans will be moving us toward performance-based management and more accountability and transparency in the way we do business. The focus will be on how Caltrans spends this money and how projects meet specific goals of each component of the bond.
Director Will Kempton has signed baseline agreements for nearly $5.5 billion for CMIA
and State Route 99 bond-funded projects.
These baseline agreements are the director’s written commitment for Caltrans to deliver its projects on budget, on time and with promised transportation benefits. Each member of the delivery team will be responsible to take necessary actions to meet this expectation. Project managers and functional managers must have plans in place for each project to ensure resources are committed to achieve critical milestones. Issues need to be resolved in a timely manner, and, when necessary, elevated to management for immediate attention.
“Caltrans must work closely with its partners on projects that have shared responsibilities,” says Director Kempton. “Communication is a key, as we must avoid surprises and ensure that all partners, sponsors and team members understand the current status of each project.”
Accountability, Transparency, and Delivery
Gov. Schwarzenegger signed an Executive Order on January 24, 2007, to establish guidelines and procedures for spending Strategic Growth Plan bond funds efficiently, effectively and in the best interests of Californians.
“The people want us to spend their money wisely and efficiently. We must uphold their trust,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger at a cabinet meeting where he signed the Executive Order. “That’s why I’m signing this Executive Order to bring full accountability and transparency to the entire process. I look forward to working with the Legislature to make sure the Strategic Growth Plan bond proceeds are spent prudently.”
Specifically, the Executive Order directs Caltrans and other state government agencies
that spend bond funds to institute a three-part accountability structure:
• Front-End Accountability: Create a strategic plan with performance standards for projects prior to the expenditure of funds.
• In-Progress Accountability: Document what ongoing actions it will take to ensure that infrastructure projects funded from bond proceeds are staying within the scope and cost that were identified.
• Follow-Up Accountability: Audit completed projects to determine whether the expenditures were in line with the goals laid out in the strategic plan.
Much Remains to Be Done
All Proposition 1B projects must receive appropriations from the Legislature. The amount of funding and a timetable will be specified in the state budget. The Governor’s May Revise proposes a multi-year appropriation schedule for three years to allow flexibility. All Proposition 1B projects must start construction by 2012.
According to the Governor’s Web site, delayed construction would cost $1 billion more if the design-build authority requested by Caltrans to streamline design and permitting for transportation projects is not authorized. Additionally, if leveraged successfully with federal, local, and private-sector resources, Proposition 1B funds could produce over $100 billion in total funding for traffic congestion relief and goods movement over the next 10 years. The administration will introduce legislation seeking expanded authority to enter into public-private partnerships in conjunction with the appropriation of Proposition 1B funding.
“Proposition 1B is a $19.9 billion ‘down payment’ on the Governor’s $107 billion Strategic Growth Plan,” says Tom West, Strategic Growth Plan Manager. “Now we must sustain the interest in transportation to ensure the system doesn’t fall back into a state of neglect.”
Caltrans estimates that the Strategic Growth Plan, as currently funded, will reduce congestion 11 percent from 2005 levels by 2015-16.
For detailed information about the bond and the Strategic Growth Plan, go to www.dot.ca.gov under the section labeled “Highlights,” click on “Proposition 1B - Transportation Bond.”
Photos: Road Work Ahead sign; heavy freeway traffic; a construction site with a worker carrying boards
Graphics: Table with breakdown of $19.9 billion total bonds in billions, and pie chart showing the same
Category of Investment Total Bonds (in billions)
Corridor Mobility Improvement Account $4.5
State Route 99 Corridor $1.0
Trade Corridors/Ports Infrastructure, Security and Air Quality $3.1
School Bus Retrofit for Air Quality $0.2
State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) Augmentation $2.0
Public Transportation Modernization, Improvement, and Service Enhancement $4.0
Transit System Safety, Security, and Disaster Response Account $1.0
State-Local Partnership Program Account $1.0
Local Bridge Seismic Retrofit $0.125
Highway-Railroad Crossing Safety Account $0.25
State Highway Operation and Protection Program (SHOPP) $0.75
Local Streets and Roads, Congestion Relief, and Traffic Safety Account of 2006 $2.0
Total $19.9 Billion
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